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Mullins campaign spending dwarfs prior races

By Stephen Betts | Oct 26, 2020
Michael Mullins

Rockland — Republican Michael Mullins' campaign for the Maine House District that covers Rockland and Owls Head is shattering the norm for the amount of money being spent.

Mullins' campaign has spent $77,096 as of the most recent reporting period, according to the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. This is nearly 14 times what Democratic candidate Valli Geiger has spent ($5,659).

The amount the Rockland Republican spent is the most for a Rockland area House district.

In 2018, for example, Democratic Rep. Anne "Pinny" Beebe-Center's campaign spent $6,493 in winning reelection. Her Republican opponent Maynard Stanley spent $6,614.

In 2016, Rep. Beebe-Center's campaign spent $4,325. In 2014, Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson's campaign spent $3,505.

The amount being spent by the Mullins campaign is also more than local state Senate races. State Senate races typically spend far more than House races because they represent more than four times the population of a House seat.

For 2020, the campaign for state Sen. David Miramant, D-Camdens has spent $45,965. His Republican challenger Gordon Page's campaign has spent $36,766.

The campaign of state Sen. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro, has spent $33,675 and his Democratic challenger Chloe Maxmim's campaign has spent $61,636.

The Elections Commission does not keep statistics on the average cost of a campaign.

Mullins is largely self-funding his campaign, financing in what the state terms traditional financing. He has raised about $10,000 from contributors. Geiger is being funded through the Maine Clean Election Act which is funded publicly.

Mullins said there are two factors driving the overall cost of his campaign. He said he hired a professional campaign consultant.

"I am criticized by some people for hiring a consultant, but as a first-timer in my particular situation running against someone with political experience. I think it was wise to get professional advice," Mullins said.

He said he also knew he would be off the campaign trial at times, because he is helping his fiancee get a visa.

"With her support, I stayed in Maine until Oct. 12 when we were 38 weeks pregnant and I am now in Sao Paulo (Brazil) with her," Mullins said in an email Oct. 26.

Mullins said he knew he would be working on the visa issue and because of the COVID-19 outbreak, this was not going to be a traditional campaign year.

"So, as early as March I worked with my consultants to develop our general strategy and also contingency plans. We knew I may have to leave the campaign trail, and there was always the potential that our baby could be premature, and I might have to leave the country in September (or sooner).

Our strategy upon which we decided was to go heavy on campaign videos, which meant spending quite a bit on production as well as placement online. That way, even if personal circumstances required me to leave the district, I could still get myself in front of voters," Mullins said.

He said his campaign has supported many local businesses — from substantial financial support for The Free Press, the Courier group of newspapers, local video production (Geoff Parker), Adventure Advertising, Megunticook Market, Main Street Markets, Ruckus Donuts, Clan MacClaren and more. The campaign has also hired several campaign workers at $20 per hour or higher.

"As for the budget, it's reflective of my commitment to this race," Mullins said. "I don't think anyone would have blamed me if I backed out of the race in March, or if I just mailed it in once I had to leave town.

"But I am just doing everything I can to compete in this race. I have approached the campaign professionally, like everything I do, and I have worked hard. I think you should work hard when campaigning, so that people in your district know what kind of effort you will put in for them. If it comes to a cause I'm passionate about, no one works harder than me. And I am passionate about serving in the statehouse," he concluded.

All the legislative candidates in Knox County are financing their campaigns through the Maine Clean Election Act other than Mullins for House District 93, and House District 95 candidate Molly Luce of Hope. Luce, a Republican challenging independent Rep. William Pluecker, of Warren, has raised and spent a little more than $11,000 through contributions.

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Comments (18)
Posted by: Elizabeth Dickerson | Oct 31, 2020 09:27

Thank you Joe for your response. When I was trying to call in, there had not yet been any accountability asked for on Mullins’ Facebook posting in which his friends were blaming the left for the damage to his van, and in one case, a man offered “security services.” Mullins took no action to remind people that there was no proof who had damaged his van, and in one case, thanked someone. These actions were in contrast to his stated position as a “civil rights candidate.” My question was: how can you call yourself a civil rights candidate if you allow your Facebook friends to blame the left for vandalism when there is no proof? I still have that question. Mullins has taken zero accountability for his actions in this case, and only after great hue and cry from the community did he respond that perhaps he should mention something on his Facebook. Which is why I say that this candidate does not walk his talk.

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Oct 28, 2020 19:30

You know what they say about if the shoe fits Bill..... I'd guess you at about a size 14.

Posted by: Bill Packard | Oct 28, 2020 19:25

Who do you "local yokels" think you are, commenting on this post.  Crawford sees you all for the ignorant buffoons you are.

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Oct 28, 2020 19:02

Amazing. One only needs to read down through all of these comments to see just how successful DJT has been at dividing the nation, all the way from the top of government on down to the local yokels in our own neighborhoods. He may be the lousiest president in history but he sure knows how to pull off a great con. PT Barnum would be impressed.

Posted by: Doug Curtis Jr. | Oct 28, 2020 16:09

I am pretty sure everyone feels the same way about the U.. Senate race nothing short of obscene.  I heard $180 million.  We could use this money for so many better things in Maine. Something has to be done.  I really have not heard much about the issues.  If there was ever a bought election no matter who wins, this is the one.  Francis is right.

Posted by: Doug Curtis Jr. | Oct 28, 2020 16:09

I am pretty sure everyone feels the same way about the U.. Senate race nothing short of obscene.  I heard $180 million.  We could use this money for so many better things in Maine. Something has to be done.  I really have not heard much about the issues.  If there was ever a bought election no matter who wins, this is the one.  Francis is right.

Posted by: Linda L Post | Oct 28, 2020 11:53

Maybe Steve Betts will do a story on the millions  and millions spent on the senate campaign 75% by Gideon and her dark money supporters. If anyone is trying to buy an election it is her. She says she takes no pac money but doesnt disavow the money they spent mostly on negative ads. The only ones to benefit are the news outfits. $100,000.00 for one tv ad!

Posted by: Joseph Steinberger | Oct 27, 2020 20:14

Lizzie Dickerson, sorry I am not very good at taking dictation. I did my best to write down your rather long and complicated question and I handed it to Steve Betts to ask, but he did not get to it. This Wednesday at 5 - 6 pm on WRFR’s Metro show on 93.3 fm we will be talking about the election and we’ll be taking questions directly over the phone live on air. Please call in. The number to call is 593-0013.

Posted by: Elizabeth Dickerson | Oct 27, 2020 19:22

Joe Steinberger, I called in and asked on your radio show-  how can this candidate call himself a civil rights candidate when he allows posts on his Facebook wall blaming the left for the vandalism of his campaign van when there is no proof of how it happened? It took you about five minutes to write that down, and the question was never forwarded to the program. I noticed that despite the program being advertised as a call-in program, there were NO questions asked. Why was that?

Posted by: Alan Benner | Oct 27, 2020 11:17

I am outside of House District 93, and have already voted, thus I have no horse in this race.

I find it refreshing that a candidate is spending his/her own money to get elected. Large outside donations and PAC money corrupt our system.

I am in no way endorsing either candidate.

I find most of the previous posts insulting to at least myself, as well as insulting to the candidates. Such insults do not help voters decide which is the better candidate to vote for.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 27, 2020 10:48

Things won't change until  we the people get back to the middle of the road. Would you spend or go into debt for a job that pays the times less then you spent. And we wonder why politics has become so corrupt.


Posted by: Merton Sawyer | Oct 27, 2020 10:25

Also, if George has hit it on the head with his post, Sarah Gideon should not be allowed to run either because she is 'from away' and has all that pixie dust money for her campaign.

Posted by: Merton Sawyer | Oct 27, 2020 10:21

There are a lot of voters that have no idea who is really running, or the issues. So Jay, you are exactly right but the signs are for the 'sheep' who dont know who to vote for, other than along party lines. I realize you understand that and that money should be spent to help rather than to influence.


I believe the majority of people who go to any State or Federal position are not there to serve us as they are elected to do. They go with their own agenda and try to push that and make a career out of it. TERM LIMITS are also necessary. Then if there was a new name, you would need to find out what they were like instead of just recognizing a name and putting a 'check' beside it.

Posted by: George Terrien | Oct 27, 2020 10:06

How stupid are we?  Let's just ban dark, or light, or private, or personal, or lobbying, or any money other than public funding from campaigning.  Do we really want to allow someone to buy our votes, or as disguised, through manipulating our votes with public relations stunts.  Whom do we want to send to represent us in any governmental body?  And do we really want to see ourselves willing to be charmed by pixie dust created by election consultants, and spread by someone who has not lived in our community for more than a very short time, but thinks we can be bought by hope to see several ideas scattered about?  We need a candidate who fulfills these kinds of ideas, who has demonstrated their contribution, and then coming back to the electorate, has earned our respect and appreciation.

Posted by: Joseph Steinberger | Oct 27, 2020 09:41

It is not fair to call this story a “hit job.” It is Steve Betts doing his job, covering a very interesting story, and doing it well. I like Mike Mullins and I see nothing biased in what Steve has written.
Having money has its advantages. That is not Mike’s fault. He has chosen to spend his money on his election campaign. There is nothing immoral in that, and nothing unusual. What is unusual in this case is that a man of Mike’s means, and of his considerable energy and talents, would be interesting in representing Rockland in the Maine House of Representatives. We should celebrate that, and be glad, whatever the outcome of the election, that he has chosen to make our fair city his home and passion.

Posted by: Gayle Murphy | Oct 27, 2020 08:27

Surprise. Surprise. A political hit job by Betts about how a candidate who holds opposing views to his, spends HIS OWN MONEY!  And right on cue, look who’s first to comment.


Meanwhile, Betts ignores the fact that multimillionaire and liberal Pingree, is taking a $52,000 Federal bailout/grant for her business on North Haven. Which is more unseemly. . . Spending your own money, or being a multimillionaire and taking a free Federal handout?


With a projected $1.4 BILLION dollar revenue shortfall to Maine’s 3 year budget, we need business people (not nurses) in Augusta to get us through the mess created by Mills without just sticking it to the taxpayers.


John Murphy

Posted by: Jay Feyler | Oct 27, 2020 08:07

Obscene amounts of money being spent around the State by both parties.  So much good could be done with these funds, and really is anyone swayed by the hundreds of signs?  Run the old fashioned way, tell me what you are going to do for my State and Town, I do not want to hear about your opponent and what they won't do!   Somehow we need to get this under control.

Posted by: Valli Genevieve Geiger | Oct 27, 2020 06:59

Wow! Mike Mullins is spending more than any other candidate for the State House of Representatives. $77,000 with 10 days to go. The majority are like me, spending well under $10,000 and using clean election money to do it. The most money spend on a race this year after Mr. Mullins is the Auburn/Minot race, where the Republican opponent is also self financing and has spent $27,000.

It is believed by many veterans of Maine races that this is the most ever spent on a Maine House race.

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